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Edmund Blunden moved among the ghosts of the Great War every day of his long life, having survived the battles of Ypres and the Somme. His classic prose memoir, Undertones of War, and his early edition of Wilfred Owen’s poems were just two examples of the ways in which he sought to convey his war experience and to keep faith with his comrades in arms. His poetry is suffused by this experience, and he was haunted by it throughout his writing life, as the men with whom he had served gradually joined the ranks of the departed. This selection of Blunden’s prose about the First World War includes the complete text of “De Bello Germanico,” his first, lively sketch of the war as he lived it in 1916. Deeply informed by his reading of 18th- and 19th-century literature, and equally by his knowledge of the countryside, Blunden’s vivid prose summons up for us what was human and natural in that most unnatural of environments, the battlefields of the Western Front.

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